Back during the Summer of 1981, as well as the rest of that year, you could not escape the music of Stevie Nicks’ debut album Bella Donna. The radio here in Central Indiana was awash with cuts from that album, and who could blame the programmers? Every young woman may age seemed to love the topics Nicks wrote about, while nearly every young man dreamed of being with her. Such is youth, as it springs eternal, even though we all race to leave it behind all the while pining for those bygone days. And, doesn’t that seem to be what Stevie’s lyrics always seemed to be inferring, all the while maintaining the strength that only a woman with a singular vision could maintain. Personally, I loved Nicks because she reminded me of every other strong woman in my life.
Obviously, Stevie Nicks has not been one to trifle with. Some people may say she is something of a bitch, but I don’t see it that way. Every other person in the world who is focused upon becoming the best in their field must have a singular vision and focus. Growing up, I’m certain many of my friends thought I was dick because I was focused on things well beyond high school. I never meant to be a jerk, but my vision, whatever it was in my teens, went well beyond what I was getting in high school.
Stevie Nicks, whether she was creating music with Fleetwood Mac or on her own, possessed a singular focus to create perfection. How else do you explain the success of her Mac songs like “Dreams” or “Rhiannon,” or those classic songs of her from that wonderful Bella Donna album? The woman heard the song and pushed every musician and producer to help her fulfill that sound.
Unlike many others, I thought it was fantastic and very appropriate that Stevie Nicks became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice this year. Perhaps, the only other women who could have been given that honor were Tina Turner, Diana Ross or Chaka Khan. But, it ended up being Stevie, and that’s just fine with me, though Tina does deserve the very same honor soon.
Today, I am giving you my 25 favorite Stevie Nicks songs, including those recorded with the Mac. Step back and enjoy, because here’s Stevie!
25. “Ghosts” (The Other Side of the Mirror, 1989)
24. “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You?” (Rock a Little, 1985)
23. “Beauty and the Beast” (The Wild Heart, 1983)
22. “If Anyone Falls” (The Wild Heart, 1983)
21. “Rooms on Fire” (The Other Side of the Mirror, 1989)
20. “Seven Wonders” – Fleetwood Mac (Tango in the Night, 1987)
19. “Sometimes It’s a Bitch” (Timepiece: The Best of Stevie Nicks, 1991)
18. “Planets of the Universe” (Trouble in Shangri-La, 2001)
17. “For What It’s Worth” (In Your Dreams, 2011)
16. “Blue Denim” (Street Angel, 1994)
15. “Gypsy” – Fleetwood Mac (Mirage, 1982). A great song from a mediocre Mac album.
14. “Silver Springs” – Fleetwood Mac (The Dance, 1997). Explain to me how this song ever got overlooked for so long?
13. “Talk to Me” (Rock a Little, 1985). Yes, dear, Stevie could do a rock song in mid-80s style.
12. “Sara” – Fleetwood Mac (Tusk, 1979). This song evokes so many memories that are special to me that make it rank higher than maybe it should.
11. “I Can’t Wait” (Rock a Little, 1985). The sound of Stevie Nicks adapting to the sound of a bygone era.
10. “Gold Dust Woman” – Fleetwood Mac (Rumours, 1977). No list of Stevie Nicks’ greatest songs can leave this brilliant one off.
9. “Nightbird” (The Wild Heart, 1983). This is the classic Stevie Nicks sound updated for the 80s.
8. “Stand Back” (The Wild Heart, 1983). This is what happens when a 70s folkish icon creates a song with a 80s purple icon. Yes, Prince wrote and recorded the keyboards for this one.
7. “After the Glitter Fades” (Bella Donna, 1981). Many say this is Stevie’s finest moment. These Top Seven songs could go in any order.
6. “Landslide” – Fleetwood Mac (Fleetwood Mac, 1975). Sometimes, I am amazed by the poignant of the lyrics written by such young artists, as though they had lived more experiences in their short lives than their peers. This is one such song.
5. “Edge of Seventeen” (Bella Donna, 1981). I do not think I am speaking for myself when I say that we were all blown away by this song, thinking that Stevie was just a balladeer. Boy, was I ever wrong!
4. “Rhiannon” – Fleetwood Mac (Fleetwood Mac, 1975). Generally speaking, this song was our introduction to Stevie’s brilliant songwriting.
3. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around (with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)” (Bella Donna, 1981). Yes, it IS a Tom Petty song. And, yes, the guys had recorded it. And, yes, Stevie wanted to be a Heartbreaker (Tom says that there’s no girls in the band). And, or course, all she had to do was add her vocals. But, wow, did the chemistry ever work! If this song had been included on Tom’s Hard Promises LP, it would have gone to number one just like Bella Donna did.
2. “Dreams” – Fleetwood Mac (Rumours, 1977). Once again, Stevie proved that she was wise beyond her years with the lyrics of this terrific song. Some days, this is my favorite of hers.
1. “Leather and Lace (with Don Henley)” (Bella Donna, 1981). I am a big romantic at heart, and this is Stevie Nicks’ most romantic song ever. This is one sexy duet with Don Henley’s voice making a beautiful counterpoint to Stevie’s gravelly voice. The juxtaposition of Henley’s smooth silk-like voice as leather versus Stevie’s unique vocals as lace is down right brilliant. What a perfect song!